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Paul Rolly: Trouble with a capital 'T' in South Jordan City

Published April 18, 2013 6:25 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Members of the South Jordan City Council are not playing nice with each other.

Shortly after one of the members gave the opening prayer at Tuesday's council meeting, the majority of the members launched into an attack on Councilman Larry Short, calling him a hypocrite and eventually passing a motion to publicly reprimand him.

Short's sin? He wrote a commentary in the South Valley Journal expressing concerns that the council may be considering a change in its form of government to increase members' compensation packages and their own power.

Three of the five council members, as well as Mayor Scott Osborne, took umbrage at Short's statements, especially since the article carried a headline — "South Jordan City Council Report" — that gave the appearance of an official council account rather than one member's opinion.

The most vociferous attack came from Councilman Mark Seethaler, who made the motion to reprimand Short and offered his colleague a way out of the public rebuke by making a full and immediate apology to the council and writing a letter to the weekly newspaper in which his commentary appeared acknowledging his lack of judgment.

Short was also called upon to apologize for being a hypocrite.

His critics on the council pointed out that he has taken pay raises during his tenure in order to keep his benefits and he makes more already than most of his colleagues on the council.

Seethaler also took exception to Short's reference to conservative principles, as though Short was a more principled conservative than his colleagues.

Seethaler even invoked the sacred name of Ronald Reagan to prove his conservative bona fides.

None on the council seemed to understand the proper rules of order for the meeting, since Short tried to make a substitute motion allowing him to speak to the original motion. There was debate over whether a substitute motion was out of order until the city attorney solved the problem by letting the council know that when a motion is made and seconded, it is open for discussion, meaning Short could make comments without having to make another motion.

That led to some combative dialogue between Short and his colleagues, much of which was dripping with sarcasm.

In the end, Short was reprimanded on a 3-2 vote, and the council moved on to city business.

A second chance • The African woman I wrote about last week who faced deportation back to Lesotho, a country fraught with tribal wars, will have her day in court before being sent back to a place where she fears she could be killed.

Immigration Judge William Nixon, who earlier had ordered Victoria Sethunya's deportation, held a hearing on her appeal Thursday after the Immigration Bureau of Appeals remanded the case back to the judge.

He granted her an asylum hearing.

Sethunya came to the U.S. 13 years ago and attended Weber State University, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and chemistry and a master's degree in criminal justice. She was unable to apply for a work visa because the school mishandled her records and did not give her the documentation she needed.

That battle has been going on for seven years, and Sethunya has gained a number of supporters, including the Victim's Advocate Office of the Draper Police Department.

One supporter at the hearing persuaded the government attorney to return Sethunya's passport, which the Department of Homeland Security has kept for several years.

About 30 supporters showed up at the hearing. Originally, they planned a protest outside the court but decided to quietly enter the hearing as a show of support instead.

prolly@sltrib.com